Movie Review: The Red House (1947)

Synopsis: At his classmate, Meg Morgan's suggestion, Nath Turner gets a job as a farm hand for her adoptive parents, Pete and Ellen. Even though they have developed a reputation as recluses, they take him in with welcome arms. However, when Nath suggests taking a shortcut through a nearby woods, Pete's reaction makes Pete suspicious and, with Meg, he begins searching for the supposedly haunted "red house" Pete refers to. This leads to an increasingly paranoid and possibly jealous Pete going to extremes to discourage it because of a horrible secret the farmer has been keeping.

Who's in it? The movie stars Edward G. Robinson, Lon McAllister, Judith Anderson, Allene Roberts and Rory Calhoun.

Review: It's a somewhat quiet Sunday and since there's only so much I can do outside until the snow melts, I decided to watch a movie. This one has been on my list for a while, so I decided to give it a try. Overall, I enjoyed it.

The movie lets the cat out of the bag a little too early as far as what secret Pete (Robinson) is keeping from Meg (Roberts), minus some details that weren't revealed until the very end. Despite that, the overall drama remains intriguing, especially when it becomes clear Pete might have some inappropriate feelings towards his adoptive daughter and becomes obsessed to the point he was unpredictable and possibly dangerous.

In addition, the film has two solid wildcards in Pete's violent henchman, Teller (Calhoun), hired to use whatever means necessary to discourage people from entering the woods, and Tibby (Julie London), the girl Nath (McAllister) is dating but, partially because of jealousy toward Nath and Meg, ends up falling for Teller. It was unclear what kind of role they would play in the ending. 

My only real complaint about the movie is it does drag on at times. Like I told my wife, it's about two hours long but it felt like half of it was people walking around in the woods. Plus, once some of the basic details of the house's secrets, it just seemed to go on longer than it needed to. As I said, the mystery about the house wasn't the only thing this movie had going for it, but it was still one of the best things.

I will say this though, the ending to the film does make up for that a bit, becoming surprisingly intense and suspenseful just when things seem like they might be getting wrapped up nice and neat. The final images of Pete were especially memorable and might stick with me for a while.

Final Opinion: The movie sometimes seems longer than it really is. However, it is still an entertaining and sometimes suspenseful thriller that is worth taking the time to check out.

My Grade: A


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